Thursday, May 14, 2009

100 Random Travel Facts

I'm in a strange list mood and I travel quite a bit. Hence, here are some things that come to my mind when I recall my trips:
  1. If I get homesick it's first because I deliriously miss Toño.

  2. The second reason is, I like hard-crusted Swiss bread.

  3. My first trip abroad (lasting more than a few hours) was with my parents to Venice when I was 12.

  4. This was the only holiday trip I made with my parents (they are farmers, they don't do holidays).

  5. On the trip to Venice, I slept the first time in a room with an air condition.

  6. I caught a terrible cold because the chambermaid set it to the maximum level and we did not notice it.

  7. On the trip to Venice, I'd slept and eaten for the first time in a ***** hotel. I'd never seen so many waiters around a single table before.

  8. The Piazza San Marco in Venice was flooded.

  9. On the way home, I ate my first Lasagne. It was a mind boggling experience.

  10. The worst food I'd ever eaten was a pizza in India. Cardboard would have been more palatable.

  11. The second worst food was Sandwich Chaud au Poulet in Quebec, Canada.

  12. However, in Asturias (Spain) I dicovered Cidre de Glace (ice cider), an extordanary speciality from Quebec.

  13. In order to do this, I had to pretend that I'm a journalist writing about cider.

  14. I usually spend about 168 hours (7x24) per year on planes.

  15. In 2005 I was on 41 planes.

  16. My first flight ever was to Canada when I was 15 to the World Scout Jamboree.

  17. Two of my fellow boy scouts played Alphorn over the Atlantic.

  18. 4 hours before landing in Canada they run out of Coke and two hours later out of all other soft drinks.

  19. In Canada I had my first jet-lag. A dreadful experience.

  20. In Canada I discovered that I had some bullets of an assault rifle in my luggage. Airport security did not find them *uff*. My brother had left them in the bag, which I took with me. I threw the rounds into the next trash bin.

  21. Two years later, my brother took the same bag on a trip to Australia. Again, there were some rounds in it. At the stop-over in London, they were discovered and he was questioned for two hours.

  22. In Canada, I played cricket for the first and last time. I never managed to ball anywhere close to the wicket. I hated cricket.

  23. Many moons later my then Kiwi boss taught me the laws of cricket during several trips to India. Since then, at least watching is kind of fun.

  24. On the first morning in the camp in Canada, our Alporn players waked us at dawn with their instruments.

  25. On the next day, the Scots next to us took revenge with their bagpipes.

  26. In Canada I played Golf for the first time. However, after the fourth hole we had to shortcut to the 19th because we run out of insect repellent spray. I lost two balls until then.

  27. In Canada I saw the first bears in wildlife. A mother and a cup were crossing the street in front of our bus.

  28. In the Kolima region in Siberia I saw the first bear face to face while I was walking across a glacier. I did the wrong thing and run. The bear did the same, luckily in the other direction.

  29. During this, my former flatmate Tigresa was fast asleep in our tent.

  30. On the Kamchatka Peninsula I saw fresh (less than half an hour old) foot prints of a bear in the snow. I could comfortably put my shoe into the foot print.

  31. On Kamchatka I saw a bear defecating while we were landing with a helicopter. The poo was still warm when we reached it.

  32. We negotiated for this helicopter flight were held in the middle of a roundabout. The negotiations took 2.5 hours.

  33. This was my first helicopter flight ever.

  34. I've never been in another helicopter than a MI8.

  35. Also in Siberia I saw a dead bear. Actually I smelled it twenty minutes before I saw it. I still have got a tooth of that one.

  36. On the same trip, we were interviewed by the television, because we were the first tourists travelling to Siberia with a private local travel agent (it was still the Soviet Union)

  37. On the same trip, I drank ethanol for the first time.

  38. I also saw the skates Lenin was using when he was exiled to Siberia.

  39. I saw my first non-poisonous snake on a school trip. Our teacher caught it with his hands.

  40. The next snakes I saw in Siberia, a place I did not expect to see any snakes at all.

  41. I saw my first poisonous snakes Kazakhstan. One of them I spotted in a field where we had our tents. My tent mate denied me to take my shoes into the tent. I almost died of fear when I had to check them on the next day for any inhabitants.

  42. On Kamchatka, I drove to the crater of a volcano in a tank.

  43. On Kamchatka, I was told that the flight back was postponed by a week due to lack of fuel.

  44. I then bought some smoked salmon and drunk a bottle of vodka, which the salesman offered because he never had a Swiss customer before. There is photographic evidence that I then tried to teach my dead and already smoked fish to smoke a cigarette (not that I remember this).

  45. Thanks to bribery, we got a flight three days later.

  46. The first money given was rejected because the dollar bills were not clean and new enough.

  47. At the bottom of the stairs to the plane we had a fistfight, because we bribed more than others and were given access first. The ones who bribed less did not liked this. There were no boarding cards.

  48. The flights from Moscow to Kamchatka and back were my shortest and my longest domestic flights ever. It lasts 9.5 hours and covers 9 time zones. So to Kamchatka it takes half an hour and back it's 18.5 hours.

  49. I've been 12 times to either the Soviet Union or Russia.

  50. Of those, 8 trips were to Siberia.

  51. Of those, 2 trips were in Winter.

  52. I was twice to the coldest village on Earth.

  53. I was naked in the snow with Toño at around -50°C/-58°F to cool down from a banja (Russian sauna).

  54. I've spent 3 times a week on a river and was 2 times hiking for a week in Siberia without meeting anybody.

  55. For the hiking sections we always bought a reindeer as emergency supply and named it Shashlik. Though we never had to slaughter it.

  56. I never travel to such places without a diver sport towel.

  57. We forgot our passports in the hotel in Irkutsk while travelling further east on the Trans-Siberian Railway.

  58. In summer 1988, I won a dance competition in a discotheque in Tajikistan.

  59. I sat in the audience when Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre went on strike on March 9, 1995 for the first time since 1776. The ballet did this to get their director Yuri Grigorovich re-installed, who had resigned because of president Boris Yeltsin.

  60. In 1995 I spent three months in Moscow, learning Russian with a private teacher.

  61. I heard the song Barbie Girl for the first time in a hotel in Mongolia.

  62. In Mongolia, I rode a horse for about 100 km.

  63. About one kilometre before our destination, my horse stepped into a mouse hole while we were at full gallop. I have no idea how I did not break anything while falling with the horse.

  64. I've broken 5 bones but none abroad, though 3 of them while skiing or snow boarding in Switzerland (the rest while cycling to the pool).

  65. I have used to have a good night sleep. In Mongolia we were sleeping in tents and had a small bus for our cook. On the first night we had a thunderstorm and everyone was fleeing into the bus. Everyone but me. They could not wake me up.

  66. I do not like to travel in the wilderness without a cook. A cook is a necessity for such an endeavour.

  67. On the Mongolia trip, our cook slaughtered two sheep.

  68. In Karelia, I did not sleep the first night on a canoeing trip because my arms hurt so much from rowing all day.

  69. In Karelia, I swam through white water rapids.

  70. In 1996, I cycled from Moskow to St. Petersburg

  71. In London I shared the bed with the girlfriend of a friend, who slept on the floor.

  72. I made my first trip to the U.S. of A. before I was drafted to the army and was not yet allowed to drink there. I always had to wear a suit when I wanted to drink. They never asked for an ID when I did this.

  73. I drunk my first White Russian in a restaurant called Blue Lagoon on Key Largo on that trip.

  74. Later that night a boy called me Crockett because of my silver jacket (it was the 80es).

  75. I was carded in a gay club in Pittsburgh when I was already older than 30.

  76. We jumped a long queue in front of a club in Brussels, because an Austrian friend of mine shouted "We are from Switzerland!" to the bouncer.

  77. I lost 10 kg (22 lb) after a spring break shopping trip to New York. All the clothes I bought I could give right to charity.

  78. I did not see any other white boys when I visited relatives of Toño in South Central Los Angeles.

  79. Legend says that when you take a bath in the Lake Baikal you will reach 100 years of age. It was so cold, when I was there, that I only dipped my foot. If you ever see a lonely walking foot, it might be mine.

  80. My most useless business trip was to a nuclear power plant in Germany where I had nothing more to do than to press 1 button.

  81. In a hotel room in Brussels I confessed to a friend and he confessed to me that we kind of like the Earth Song.

  82. I somehow managed to catch a flu in Mexico this April.

  83. I slept with Toño in the bed of a Hollywood celebrity.

  84. I never got seasick, although I sail a lot. *touches wood*

  85. I was once coerced to carry water for 1.5 hours by an old woman when I visited a Russian monastery.

  86. I once stranded in Dublin with an Air Lingus ticket, although it was Ryanair that was on strike.

  87. The highest altitude I've ever walked/climbed to is the Thorong La Pass at 5416 m (17,769 ft) in Nepal.

  88. For this trip, my lugged weighted only 12.5 kg (including mountaineer boots).

  89. I crossed Chechnya and did not even notice it (1988 in a train to Baku while I was asleep).

  90. In China it was cheaper to buy socks than to give them to the hotel laundry.

  91. In Syria, a Bedouin wanted me to marry his daughter.

  92. In Syria, I ate my first club sandwich.

  93. I went to Palm Springs to my my first Quinceañera. To prepare for this, I watched the film Quinceañera (which has a nice gay side storyline).

  94. I've never been to Berlin and kind of regret it.

  95. I got quite wet when I drove in a 15 year old convertible from New York to Washington and it was raining all the way. I tried to plug the biggest holes in the roof with tissues. But they just soaked up and then dropped.

  96. I love the sea but I loath sandy beaches. The sand gets to places where I just don't like to have any sand.

  97. I saw the sea for the first time in Venice.

  98. I swum the first time in salty water in the Caspian Sea.

  99. Despite all the travelling, I've never crossed the equator and have no idea how it feels like when the sun shines from the wrong side.

  100. My first trip with Toño was to Lausanne. We did not sleep much.

1 comment:

Mickle in NZ said...

Number 99 had me smiling and nodding in recognition. My sense of direction isn't good anyway. Add the Sun being "in the wrong place in the sky" and you have Mickle in Europe in 1987.

Solution for you - go to the Equator and the Sun will be right above you.

care and huggles, have a great weekend (swimming again?),

Mickle and sleeping Zebbycat xxx + ... silence